Five classic clashes

Ahead of England vs Scotland, we look back at five of the best matches between the two countries.

Last Updated: 13/08/13 at 16:55

1928 - England 1-5 Scotland

Goalkeeper Ted Hufton is beaten by a shot from Alan Jackson

Unusually for a British Home Championship, both England and Scotland were fighting to stay off the bottom of the table rather than battling it out at the top. England had lost both of their matches, whilst Scotland had lost one and drawn one, so England needed to win to avoid the wooden spoon. England were by far the superior side on paper, with star player Dixie Dean closing in on a record 60 league goals that season, whilst the Scottish FA had held a trial match just two weeks before to decide which players to pick.

Along with Dean, the English side also consisted of four players from Huddersfield Town, who had won three consecutive league titles from 1924-26. Scotland left out four regulars for the match, picked a player who had only just returned from a two-month injury and made the brave decision to play uncapped Tom Bradshaw to mark Dean. But despite being the underdogs for the game, the Scottish ran riot on a wet Wembley pitch to claim a famous victory and earn the nickname 'Wembley Wizards'.

England could have gone ahead in the first minute when Huddersfield's Billy Smith hit the post, but it was Scotland who struck first, with Smith's club-mate Alex Jackson heading home to open the scoring after just three minutes. The visitors continued to dominate, but England held firm until the 44th minute when Preston North End forward Alex James doubled Scotland's lead going into half time. The second half was even better for the away side, with Jackson again heading in to make it 3-0, before James grabbed his second to turn the match into a rout. Jackson completed a famous hat-trick five minutes before full time, scoring from yet another cross. England managed to save some pride when Huddersfield's Bob Kelly scored a free kick with a minute to go, but it could not take the shine off an incredible Scottish performance.

1961 - England 9-3 Scotland

England goalkeeper Gordon Banks beats away an attack by Scotland centre-forward Ian St John

"If it wasn't for that 9-3 game, I could sleep at night." Even 50 years on, legendary forward Ian St John can't forget Scotland's worst ever defeat to the Auld Enemy. It was one side of household names against the other; an English side containing Johnny Haynes, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Robson and Bobby Charlton versus a Scotland team with St John, Denis Law and Dave Mackay. It should have been a classic match for both sides to remember, but it ended up being a classic match that only the English wanted to remember.

England had already run riot in the 1961 British Home Championships, beating Northern Ireland 5-2 in Belfast and Wales 5-1 at Wembley, whilst Scotland had also beaten Northern Ireland 5-2 but lost 2-0 to Wales, meaning England only needed a draw to win their first outright title since 1957.

England may have only needed to avoid defeat, but they certainly didn't look like it. Robson fired them ahead in the ninth minute, with Greaves scoring in the 21st minute and again nine minutes later to all-but end the match as a contest. Scotland did manage to pull two back in a five minute spell just after half time through Mackay and Davie Wilson, but Bryan Douglas put England 4-2 up after 55 minutes. The game appeared to be petering out, but then six goals in 12 minutes made it 9-3. First, Bobby Smith made it 5-3 to England on 73 minutes, before Pat Quinn scored two minutes later to give Scotland hope. Johnny Haynes quickly dispelled that hope with two goals in four minutes, with Greaves completing his hat trick a minute later. Smith rounded out the scoring with his second on 85 minutes to give England their greatest victory against their neighbours.

1967 - England 2-3 Scotland

Denis Law raises his arms above his head as he scores for Scotland

In July 1966, England beat West Germany 4-2 in one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time. Fast-forward 10 months and not only have they comfortably won their first two matches of the 1967 British Home Championships, they also haven't lost a game since October 1965. Scotland on the other hand, have won one and drawn one of their Home Championships matches, but haven't beaten England in three years.

Once again, the home side were the favourites. Looking to win their third outright Home Championship in a row, England were brimming with confidence from their maiden World Cup victory. Their team consisted of almost the same side that won on that famous July day, with the only change being Greaves coming in for Roger Hunt. Whilst Scotland had a good side, with players such as Billy Bremner and Law in their ranks, six of their starting 11 had played less than ten international games, with two of those being debutants.

When playing England, the underdog tag was one that Scotland were used to, especially during this era of dominance for England. But as usual, they didn't let this faze them and they went ahead in the 27th minute through Law. England tried to get back onto level terms, but Scotland managed to double their advantage through Bobby Lennox in the 78th minute. Makeshift centre forward Jack Charlton, not playing in his usual centre back position because of an injury he sustained early on in the match, pulled one back in the 84th minute, but Jim McCalliog restored the two goal lead three minutes later. Hurst scored a consolation in the 88th minute, but it was not enough as Scotland held on for their most famous victory, with the media even crowning them 'Unofficial Champions of the World'.

1996 - Scotland 0-2 England

Paul Gascoigne celebrates after scoring England's second goal in Euro 96

Euro '96 was the first time England and Scotland had met in a major tournament and it just so happened that England were hosting it, meaning yet another Wembley meeting between the two. The arch-rivals had both been drawn in group A, along with the Netherlands and Switzerland, ensuring a tough group for all the teams. Both teams had drawn their opening matches, England 1-1 against Switzerland and Scotland played out a goalless draw versus the Netherlands, meaning that anything less than a win for either side could have put further progression in doubt.

Not for the first time, England were favourites. But this was a major tournament, so shocks are standard practice. England's team in this era was considered their strongest for a long time, with players such as Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Tony Adams and David Seaman in the crop to realistically attempt to end 30 years of major tournament hurt. Scotland had qualified for the tournament as Group Eight runners up, losing just one game in a weak group, but still posed a threat from players such as Gary McAllister and their two centre backs, both named Colin, Calderwood and Hendry.

The match was always going to be a tense affair, but ultimately it was settled in two minutes of sheer quality. Neither team could break the deadlock in the first half, and with both sides knowing a draw would pile the pressure on their final games, they came out looking for that elusive goal. It was the hosts who struck, thanks to a header by Shearer, who became the first Englishman to score more than one goal in the European Championship finals. England were desperately clinging on as Scotland got back into the match, but they spurned they chance to equalise when McAllister saw his penalty well saved by Seaman. England then raced down the other end and the crowd witnessed one of the greatest European Championship goals of all time. Darren Anderton chipped it into Gascoigne at the edge of the box, who flicked it over Hendry and volleyed home to make it 2-0 and win the match for England.

1999 - Scotland 0-2 England

Paul Scholes of England powers home a header against Scotland to make it 2-0

The last time England and Scotland met was in the Euro 2000 play-offs, with England ultimately prevailing 2-1 on aggregate. Scotland had a fairly good qualifying run, winning half of their ten games to comfortably finish second to the outstanding Czech Republic, who won every game. England fared quite differently, though. They endured a torrid time attempting to qualify, recording just three wins in eight games to scrape to second in their group on goal difference, just above Poland. This meant both countries, along with six others, were in the pot for the play-offs to decide which four teams would progress to the finals.

As luck would have it, the draw paired the historic rivals together in a two-legged clash that would take place in November 1999. History, and player ability, suggested that England should have walked all over their Scottish counterparts, but current form was the worrying factor for them. Despite boasting some of the biggest names in world football, including Michael Owen, David Beckham and Paul Scholes, England were struggling to hold leads, or sometimes even take them. Meanwhile Scotland, whose star players included Craig Burley and Hendry, had been grinding out wins and even beat Germany in a friendly six months prior to the match play-offs.

The first game in the play-off was at Hampden Park, meaning Scotland will have been feeling confident that they could get a result. Both teams came out looking fired up and they both started well, but it was the away side who took the lead thanks to a good goal from Scholes. Scholes then headed home 20 minutes later when he leapt above the Scottish defence to power England 2-0 ahead. There could have easily been more goals in the game for either side, but good goalkeeping from Seaman in the England net and Neil Sullivan in the Scotland one ensured it stayed 2-0 to set up a tasty clash at Wembley four days later.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments


think that puts all doubts over Benteke's quality to bed. Can he do it after receiving the ball to feet, in the box, totally unmarked, on a warm, sunny afternoon in Swindon? Oh yes he can! This year is definitely Liverpool's year. YNWA.

WATCH: Benteke's debut screamer


ll very well selling all midfield and strikers but unless we bring anyone in that is better than what we had then it will be a terrible transfer window in my view. Sorted out the defense but our midfield and striker options look very light.

Spurs Halfway To The Perfect Summer


ove it when Jose accuses others of being defensive, cynical and playing to win. If I was Wenger, I'd get that quote laminated and framed - surely the biggest compliment he's ever received from Mourinho. You've got him riled Arsene - you're relevant again!

Jose rues pitch and weather after defeat

Footer 365

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has 'difficult questions'

Arsenal centre-half Per Mertesacker says manager Arsene Wenger has a lot of "difficult questions" to answer.

West Ham forward Enner Valencia ruled out for up to 12 weeks

West Ham forward Enner Valencia has been ruled out for up to 12 weeks with a leg injury.

Jordy Clasie says he'd have rejected move to Man United in order to join Southampton

Jordy Clasie claims he'd have rejected Man United to sign for Southampton - saying it's "better to start lower and finish higher".

Mail Box

There's A Lot Of Anger About TV...

...and how much you have to pay - largely for games you don't actually want to watch. Many of you are forced to go illegal. We also have mails on Chelsea, Angel di Maria and...

Not Just A Friendly. This Had Meaning...

Arsenal fans are very excited about beating Chelsea (don't remind them about last year), while there is criticism for BT and a football fan tired of being screwed by TV...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company